Rape amidst pandemic: Nigeria records over 700 rape cases in five months

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Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian Police recorded over 700 rape cases across the country in five months.

This was revealed by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu who specifically uncovered that a total of 717 rape cases were recorded between January and May 2020.

Before now, rape cases in the country had continuously increased and as such, escalated protests. Protests and outcries have continued to trend on social media and even on the streets despite movement bans and stay at home orders.

A major thing causing curiosity is that victims of rape had alongside been murdered.

Killings alongside rape
Women who have been victims of rape have also been murdered by their abusers.

An early case is 22-year-old Uwa Omozuwa who was raped and killed in a church in Edo state. A few days after Uwa’s, 19-year-old Barakat Bello was also raped and killed in Akinyele Local Government, Oyo State.

More killings have been recorded especially in Akinyele including a 5-year-old boy named Mujeeb.

Regarding these killings, the police report that suspected ritualists behind the killings have been arrested.

In addition to these killings are minors who have also been abused.

Child rape cases

Children or infant rape have been revealed from arrested abusers.

A recent case is Muhammad Zulfara’u Alfa who confessed to having raped 40 women and children within a year in Kano.

Another is a 32-year-old man named Chigbo Akpoluobi who raped a 7-year-old girl in his house in Anambra state.

One that shook social media was the gang rape of 11 men on a 12-year-old girl in Jigawa state.

A major concern is why are these cases rising during the pandemic?

Rape cases and Covid 19

The coronavirus which has killed over 700 people in Nigeria as at 14th July 2020 is also suspected to be a contributing factor to the increased rape cases.

Experts warned that the pandemic is likely to affect more things apart from direct deaths. Particularly, a study by the UNFPA reported that ongoing prevention schemes, efforts to lessen and address female genital mutilation, early marriage and gender-based violence would be affected by the pandemic.

While the study was not specific about rape, it was about gender-based violence. The study estimated an additional 15 million of gender-based violence cases to occur in every 3 months of the lockdown.

Experts also suggest that one of the reasons behind increased gender-based violence during the pandemic is the lockdown and stay at home orders. The argument is, with the lockdown, abusers and victims have more time to spend together. Unfortunately, victims are restricted from accessing help as hotlines are also affected by the same lockdown.

The situation in Nigeria, however, may be a little different as some known rape cases occurred outside the homes. For instance, Uwa was raped in a church, Jennifer was raped in a friend’s house and Grace was also raped behind a church.

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